Jill, Day Hiking Ambassador
I know what you are thinking, “Isn’t New Mexico a desert?” Well yes, New Mexico dominantly consists of arid desert terrain, but we have a fair share of mountains as well. Our mountains may not tower like the Colorado Rockies but our annual snowfall is just enough for snowshoers to get out and play. If anything it’s the heat and arid climate in the Land of Enchantment that makes us desert folk appreciate the snow more than most.
In celebration of the snowfall season there are many places and events in NM for snowshoers to visit and enjoy. From my experience of snowshoeing in New Mexico these are my top five favorite adventures!
Adventure #1: Snowshoe Backpacking to Bull of the Woods Yurt
Located in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area the Bull of the Woods Yurt is 4 miles round trip. This adventure is perfect for snowshoers who wish to experience snowshoe backpacking for the first time. Though it is a steep gain in elevation, the trail is a reasonable distance and the yurt is prepped with everything you need for cold winter nights. Check it out!
Southwest Nordic Center: http://www.southwestnordiccenter.com/taosyurtdescription.htm
Wheeler Peak Wilderness: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/carson/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5350403
Adventure #2: Enchanted Forest XC Ski and Snowshoe Area on Mardi Gras in the Mountains Weekend
Located just outside the little town of Red River, NM the Enchanted Forest XC Ski and Snowshoe Area is a gem. While the trails are awesome all winter long I highly recommend snowshoers who are looking for a little extra fun to check it out on Mardi Gras in the Mountains weekend. You can hit the trail decked out in masks and beads by day and then check out the on-going events in town by night. Add some Ragin Cajun to your snowshoeing lifestyle!
Enchanted Forest XC Ski & Snowshoe Area: http://www.enchantedforestxc.com/
Mardi Gras in the Mountains: http://www.redrivermardigrasinthemountains.com/
Adventure #3: Chama Chile Ski & Snowshoe Classic 6K
The Chama snowshoe 6K race is now an annual favorite event that we love to attend. We stumbled across this awesome event by chance one winter and just keep coming back. If you are in NM and want to try a 6K race for the first time I invite you to start here. You will love the spirit and energy of everyone who comes out to celebrate the joy and physical challenge of snowshoeing for this race. Get out there and tear it up!
Chama Ski & Snowshoe Classic: http://www.skichama.com/index.htm
Adventure #4: Valles Calderas Moonlight Snowshoeing Events
Have you ever snowshoed and howled under a full moon? Well at the Valles Calderas you can! Take in the stars at night as you snowshoe along the trails by moonlight. Each winter Valles Calderas hosts moonlight events in which they lights bonfires and welcome snowshoers out for a snowy night of fun. Don’t forget a thermos of hot chocolate!
Adventure #5: Snowshoeing in the Santa Fe National Forest
With easy and quick access from Santa Fe the Santa Fe National Forest has some incredible trails to offer snowshoers in the winter months. Become enchanted and lose yourself in the wilderness of New Mexico on a variation of trails offered for snowshoers of every experience level. Our favorite snowshoe trails are Aspen Vista Trail and Chamisa Trail. Happy Snowshoeing!
Santa Fe National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/santafe/